Teacher Education

Feedback: Why Video Matters

See how tailoring feedback to the recipient and using video in a purposeful way adds power to feedback delivered for professional learning

View the presentation slides

About the Session

This presentation addresses the value of tailoring feedback to the recipient and how using video adds power to the feedback we deliver for professional learning. You will learn four domains for constructing feedback that is well suited for educators. Additionally, we will explore how to use video in a purposeful way to ensure that feedback has the greatest effect.

About the Presenter

Dr. Marti Elford is a Faculty Instructor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the Master of Arts in Teaching Program for Special Education. Dr. Elford has experience as a classroom teacher, a reading specialist, and an instructional coach. She earned her Ph.D. in Special Education at the University of Kansas, where she supervised two research projects: a Poses Foundation grant studying Instructional Coaching, and TeachLivE, using simulation in teacher preparation programs. Dr. Elford is co-author of two books: 1) GET Feedback: Giving, Exhibiting, and Teaching Feedback in Special Education Teacher Preparation, and 2) Implementing a Virtual Coaching Model for Teacher Professional Development. Dr. Elford’s research interests include the impact of coaching for teachers, using virtual learning environments and virtual coaching for teacher preparation and professional development. As a Fulbright Award recipient, Dr. Elford spent two months in Finland studying Finnish Education.


HEATHER LUND: Hello, and thank you for joining us for a ReAction.

My name is Heather Lund, and I’m looking forward to today’s presentation. Marti Elford is joining us from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for the session Feedback Why Video Matters.

Before we begin, we’d love you to introduce yourself, share your thoughts, or share resources in the chat window. Just make sure that you change your message settings to everyone to be able to share with the group.

And then, if you do have questions for Marti, use the Q&A window. And if you see a question that you’d like answered, click the thumbs up button to up-vote it. We will answer as many questions as we can after the presentation. I’m so excited to hear what Marti is going to share with us today. Welcome, Marti.

MARTI ELFORD: Thank you so much, Heather.

I absolutely love talking about feedback. And I’m excited to share just a little bit of what we learned in our research about feedback for adult learners. And so, this presentation is really going to be talking about how to tailor feedback to the recipient. Particularly adult learners, and how feedback adds power or how video adds power to the feedback that we give.

And so, I’m curious to know how many who are here today currently supervise teacher candidates remotely? So if you’ll just answer that poll, that’ll give me an idea of the audience that we have. And I just want to give you a preview for what I hope we can accomplish as our objectives for today.

I’d like to give you a little bit of background about the research regarding feedback and talk to you about the definition that we have established for feedback. Particularly for adult learners, and then we’re going to focus in on why looking at the adult learner is so important to feedback and teacher preparation. And then, finally, the power of video.

So let me see if I can get my–

oh, we’ve got a lot of teacher supervisors here, and that’s excellent.

So I’m going to go ahead and talk a little bit about the foundations of feedback. And so, we really tried to understand what feedback actually means, and we discovered that there was no widely accepted definition of feedback. Instead, there was more of a smorgasbord of descriptions, much like this charcuterie board.

Plenty of descriptions to choose from, and all of them had been written about feedback based on K-12 learners.

And so, if we carry the charcuterie board analogy a little bit farther, we can think about Hadi’s seminal work. And his widely accepted work on the effects of feedback is kind of the crackers that hold whatever it is. Or it could be pita bread or anything else that you want to make as the base for your delicacy.

And then the other six elements and the seven characteristics described–

the six elements described by Burkhardt and the seven characteristics described by Wiggins are analogous with whatever you’re going to put on top of that carrier for your wonderful meal. And we decided that we wanted more of a signature sandwich than a smorgasbord of feedback options. We just needed the right combination.

And so first, we took the levels of effective feedback and the questions that Hadi and Temperley had created based on those elemental levels that they had discovered. And then, we combined the elements that Burkhardt described and the characteristics that Wiggins lists.

And by doing this, we felt confident that we could form the foundations of feedback based on the research literature. So I want to just preview if you don’t already know,

I just want to preview the six essential elements that Burkhardt lists.

She says that feedback must be timely.

It should be focused on one or more strength and at least one suggestion for improvement or next steps.

It should be descriptive and focused not on the person or the student personally. It shouldn’t be judgmental.

It needs to be focused on a process and self-referenced. It should have just a few points and small steps, and it should be positive, clear, and specific. And those are the six elements that Burkhardt mentions.

Wiggins has seven characteristics kind of what does it sound like? What does it look like?

So he says goal referenced, tangible and transparent, actionable, feedback should be user friendly, should be specific and personalized, it should be timely, ongoing, and consistent. So those are the seven characteristics. So those are the meat and the cheese and the guacamole in this case.

Hadi’s questions, you likely are all familiar with those, but I’m going to just review them. Those three questions are, does the feedback tell me where am I going, how am I going, and where to next?

Effective feedback answers one or more of those three questions. And Hadi also describes that there are four levels of feedback.

Task is the most elemental level.

Process is a more sophisticated level.

The most sophisticated level of feedback is self-regulation. And then, the least effective is that feedback that addresses self as a person.

And it’s least effective because that type of feedback doesn’t usually contain task-related information.

It sounds more like praise, and it’s frequently attributive.

And unfortunately, in a lot of teacher preparation programs, our teacher candidates learn to be effective at that self as a person. That level of feedback by saying good job or well done or you did it.

But that’s not the most effective type of feedback. It really doesn’t supply the learner with the information that they need.

So I’m sure that you heard that there’s a lot of overlap between what Burkhardt and Wiggins talk about as essential elements. And the characteristics because effective feedback is known to possess these descriptors. And so, when we combined all this information, it led us to develop four domains that combined questions, levels, and characteristics.

So what you see on the screen here is our G.E.T. Model for feedback, along with the definition that we reached.

Our definition for feedback is any information recipients receive that informs their understanding or restructures their thinking or beliefs related to their performance, knowledge, or skills.

And so, we want feedback to be something that matters. Something that transforms.

And if you’ll look at the model, our theoretical framework for the G.E.T. Model, you’ll notice that the adults are at the center of the feedback. And so, we want the feedback to be meaningful for the recipient. And Knowles’s work around adult learning theory helps us understand better just how adult learners can receive feedback.

But in that inner circle, you’ll see the questions, levels, and characteristics that we just described from our charcuterie board.

As those things that are fundamental to the language that we use and the way that we deliver feedback. But finally, those four domains are listed on the outside of the circle. Specificity, immediacy, purposefulness, and constructiveness, and we’ll talk a little bit more about those later.

So why the adult learner, so let’s just take a minute and answer this question.

Are you satisfied with the way your students respond to the feedback you give?

And so, while you’re answering that question, I’m just going to keep an eye on the poll. But I want you to pay attention to the Principles of Andragogy.

Feedback for adults requires a different layer of thought than feedback for children.

And these principles of Adult Learning Theory are integral to the feedback that we give when we focus at putting the adult learner at the center. So they’re actually participants in the feedback in the way that it becomes transformative for them. Then feedback is a reciprocal process.

It’s less like the little characters on the left side of the screen where one person is just delivering. And the other one is trying to figure out what is meant by what’s being said.

And video is an ideal way for this type of feedback to happen.

So let’s see the results of the poll. How satisfied are you?

Oh, we have just a few only 3% are very satisfied. We have 48% that are satisfied, that’s good, but 48% that are not satisfied at all so.

So my hope would be that as you learn a little bit more about what we’ve learned regarding delivering feedback.

If you’re satisfied that you’ll get some tools to take away with you. And if you’re not satisfied, you’ll have an opportunity to really think about ways that you can change the way you deliver feedback. So it’s more tailored to your learners or tailor delivered through a medium that’s more accessible to them.

And so that’s what I want to talk about next.

Why video matters.

Because video is data. When teachers are teaching, they’re focused on the curriculum, on their students, on the instruction.

And even teachers with years and years of experience find it really difficult to even describe the tacit skills they use to be successful. So an extensive review of the literature Gaudin and Chali��s describe the reasons that video is being used more in teacher education and professional development.

The result of their review indicate that video viewing and teacher education includes these categories.

The nature of teacher’s activity and as they view the classroom video so teachers get to watch what they’re doing themselves.

The other review of the literature indicated that the objectives, why, why the video is being used at all, why do instructors want video to be used? And then, the type of classroom videos that are being used. And finally, how effective is it?

So in their extensive review of the literature, they boiled it down to videos being used more and more for these four reasons.

And this is consistent with the additional literature that states that using video actually improves teacher practice.

And so, in his book focus on teaching, Jim Knight talks about video being that third thing. That data piece that an instructor or a coach can use so that the teacher candidate and the instructor are both looking on at the same thing.

That piece of data that can be used to deliver feedback and engage in dialogue.

The teacher candidate then can see for themselves what needs to change and what they can take responsibility for to make that change happen.

Sometimes teacher candidates and even experienced teachers, first of all, they don’t see themselves teaching very often. And they are focused on what the students are doing instead of what they are doing and what they have control over.

So when we use video as data it opportunities it opens that opportunity for feedback as dialogue between an adult learner.

So how many of you use currently use video software for giving feedback?

I suppose I should ask that better because I don’t know how many of you there are. So do you or don’t you use video software for providing feedback? Oops, that’s not the slide I want.

So video is a powerful tool for–

oh, lots of yeses. That’s great.

So you probably already know that video is a powerful tool for professional learning because video gives the teacher the ability to observe themselves doing the work of teaching. The person giving the feedback, usually an instructor or a supervisor, should get to know their adult learner in such a way that they can tailor the feedback to be effective.

Our adult learners come to us with a vast amount of experience as human beings. Some of them come to us with teaching experience.

And all of them have life experiences that make it possible for them to make strong connections. They’re usually self-motivated.

They’re motivated by their own goals, not by somebody else’s goals.

Adult learners care about being able to implement things immediately. And so being able to see something on video and use what they’ve learned right away to improve their practice is really very important to adult learners.

So let’s talk about how we can actually use video and the software you’re currently using to enhance that power of feedback.

And so, the first thing that we can establish is that using video, along with coaching conversations and reflective practice it’s a trifecta for teachers to improve.

And then, creating conversations where teachers can look at other’s teaching and view expert examples helps them think about their own practice. And how they can improve based on seeing someone who delivers a skill or a strategy very, very well.

And so, using video along with questions and then really listening to the teacher candidate and what they’re saying and what they want to work on is a way to improve the feedback that we’re giving. And also, setting up observations where the teacher candidate looks at things that they’ve heard about in coursework or explicit examples of the things that they want to work on really adds power to video. It really includes a multidimensional layer to effective reflective practice.


So when using video, it’s important to set up the assignment or the video observation in such a way that the teacher candidate understands in advance what they are looking for.

And some assignments can be tailored to looking for student engagement in their own students. So watching their students might be something that the video will provide very telling evidence about.

But watching themselves is even more effective, and it should be set up in a way that’s not judgmental.

Teachers have not used video before, or even if they have, it’s uncomfortable. It’s not pleasant.

When I watch myself, I know that it’s an important thing to do. And I always learn and I reflect on ways to do better, to teach better, but it’s uncomfortable. And so getting over the attributes of things like, oh, man, my hair looked terrible, or I’m never wearing those clothes again, or the light reflects off my glasses.

It’s just all those technical things are not at the heart of what we want people to see when they’re teaching and when they’re watching themselves on video. So at some point, they have to get over that. And one of the ways is we can acknowledge that that’s going to happen and then we can say, but we want you to really look for these three things.

How many questions are you asking? How often are you providing feedback? Are you establishing enough wait time, or are you letting the students struggle through the assignment, or are you rescuing them too quickly?

So after you’ve watched the teacher and they’ve watched themselves, you can set up the next observation in such a way that its goal referenced for them, as Wiggins says.

And the other thing we need to know about using videos that we see what we’re looking for. So if we can direct their view and we give them observation markers. And that’s one of the real powers of GoReact, but also in our discipline with special education, we look at those higher leverage practices or teaching standards, and we hone in on those.

So that our teacher candidates know that these are the expectations and this is what we want you to work on. So it’s all transparent.

We try and focus on those game-changers.

And so, reflective practice is the other key element for the power of video. Because reflective practice fuels the development of a deeper understanding about the way teachers conduct their work.

And in order to become skilled and effective teachers, reflection should involve connecting research to the day-to-day practice and uncovering the assumptions that we have.

Just like looking in a mirror, I can look at my reflection. I see what’s there, but I can also adjust my hair, my earrings, the clothing. I can make those changes while I’m seeing that reflection. And so, in looking at that video, they’re looking in a mirror.

But the view, the image doesn’t have to stay the same. Through reflection and looking at the research, and connecting research to practice, the view is constantly changing. And the teacher candidate can improve themselves professionally by uncovering the what, the why, and the how of teaching to better understand the choices that they’re making.

The article by Lauren on reflective practice states it this way. Effective reflective practice is drawn from the ability to frame and reframe our understanding through action.

So that practitioner’s wisdom and action is enhanced and has a particular outcome, and it improves professional knowledge.

And that’s what the reflective practice–

that’s how it adds power to using video. And so, how do we do all this?

Well, we’re still learning, and I notice that I’m missing a slide.

And so, that’s unfortunate, but I’m just going to talk about it and I’ll make that adjustment later when you all get a copy of the slides.

Many of you said that you’re using video software of some kind.

How many of you are using GoReact to do teacher observations? So the slide that you can’t see has a picture of a teacher with my feedback to that teacher as well as that teacher’s feedback to herself, along with the observation markers.

And so, in GoReact, the beauty of directing the view is that we can create observation markers that are designed, and aligned with the assignment.

So, for instance, if we are looking for explicit instruction, we model that for the teachers. We show them how to do that, and then we expect them to do the modeling on their own.

We expect them to have guided practice. Oh, thank you so much. This is so helpful.

I love being rescued.

So when we have those observation markers on there, that helps direct the view.

We can show them right away through those observation markers exactly what they should be looking for. What we should be looking for. And then, we expect them to go to the next level.

We tell them don’t just hit the marker but describe what you’re seeing. And so we can do the same thing.

The feedback in this context meets the criteria of specificity and immediacy and purposefulness, and constructive. So how many of you use GoReact right now?

Oh, great.

62% of you. That’s wonderful. So you understand how valuable it is to integrate these markers in your video observation because you can design them yourselves.

If you haven’t done that, talk to the folks at GoReact. They are masterful at being able to guide you through that process.

But in this particular video, I want to–

or in this particular slide, I want you to pay attention to the feedback that I gave this learner.

So I marked on here that she sequenced the skills logically. That’s one of the things that we wanted them to look for, and we were also looking for, but then I tell her specifically it’s a perfect example. And I don’t tell her exactly what she did, so that’s a poor example of feedback on my part.

But if I could show you the entire exchange between she and I, there are opportunities for me to actually comment on what she has said. Sometimes students see what they’re doing, and they only notice what they didn’t do well.

Whereas I try and be a witness for the good, and it could be that they really do have to work on an element maybe they’re saying good job 27 times in a 10 minute mini lesson. And so, we want to stop that kind of behavior.

So they may notice it, but I want to be able to say you’re right, you’re using good job too frequently. Why don’t you try this and then give them something actionable that they can work on.

That way, I’m delivering specific feedback in a timely manner with the purpose of helping them improve their practice.

And then, when we talk about what they see in their video when we have our little coaching conversation and debrief afterwards. I expect them to be able to construct new meaning out of the feedback because the video is really that data point.

And in order for them to take what they’ve learned, take what they’ve seen, take my feedback and the feedback of their peers and really make new meaning out of it. They have to decide on their own goals, their own actionable steps. And then, as someone who delivers feedback, I just serve as a guide for that process.

And when we use feedback or when we use video to observe teachers and supervise them, we don’t need to rely on our memory or our judgment. Instead, video creates an authenticity for goal reference, tangible transparent actionable user-friendly feedback. It’s timely, ongoing, and specific.

So the next, to the last slide is a description of how we have put all this together.

We structure feedback for our teacher candidates through this G.E.T. model.

And that involves the four domains with the adults at the center.

And the questions in this slide illustrate some of the ways that we can frame feedback that we want to give so that it informs the recipient. And I’m worried I’m going to be out of time here, so I’ll be really brief.

We want it to restructure their thinking, and so can you see how each of these questions focus the adult learning at the center.

And then it asks me how am I delivering the feedback in such a way that the adult learners can really decide on a goal? And does it does my feedback align with the goal? Does it have actionable steps?

Have I created assignments that scaffold their learning based on where they are on the continuum? And what’s the responsibility of the adult learner?

If we’re not satisfied with the feedback that we’re giving, perhaps it’s too top-down.

It’s something that we’re giving to the adult learner rather than thinking of the video as data and working with them. And creating a dialogue where they can actually think through the things that they need to do themselves, and then we just are a guide.

So the references are in the last two slides, and I probably didn’t leave time for questions. I am so sorry.

HEATHER LUND: Thank you, Marti. We haven’t had a lot of questions come in, but we have had some who are interested in markers. So I’ve shared some resources for creating or using markers.

And Eric asked if you could share the markers that you are using just as a reference as well? Something that maybe can be shared to give him and others a starting point as they’re becoming more familiar with using markers or not having to think about what markers should be incorporated into their assignments.

MARTI ELFORD: Absolutely.

I’d be glad to do that. The markers–

do you want me to just add it in the chat?

HEATHER LUND: If you have them or if it’s something we can share out, I know we will have your slide presentation and the recording available, and we can include that as well if that would work.

MARTI ELFORD: Yeah, I’ll just quickly list the ones that we use for explicit instruction. So we expect them to have an opening. Some kind of greeting for their students.

Then a review that’s another marker.

Modeling, sequencing steps specifically, or guided practice. Opportunities to respond.

Feedback. Independent practice and a closing.

And in each one of those markers, we have a description of what those should look like.

And so when you hover over the marker, it shows exactly what it is we’re looking for with each one of those. But Heather, I can send you a list of the other markers that I use for some of the other assignments. And if that will help anyone else, I would love to do that.

HEATHER LUND: Thank you. We can certainly share your information. I’m sure that would be helpful for many.

MARTI ELFORD: All right. Thanks so much. Sorry, I’m long-winded.

HEATHER LUND: No. This has been a wonderful presentation, and it’s great to have that conversation and learn more about what has been helpful and what resources maybe they’re not using if they are a good ReAct user, so.

MARTI ELFORD: Yeah, if they’re not using markers, they’re missing out on–

I mean, plus it just speeds things up so much.

Yeah, so I got to get better at this. Heather, I need to practice with you.


No, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.

MARTI ELFORD: You’re welcome.

HEATHER LUND: This does conclude today’s session and our first day of ReAction.

We will have tomorrow’s session begin as well. So thank you, everyone, for joining. Have a fantastic day. Thanks, Marti.

MARTI ELFORD: You’re welcome. Bye-bye